Saturday, December 11, 2021

Diana Ross

Diana Ross has a new album out, THANK YOU.  Sunday, we did "The Diana Ross Roundtable" at THIRD.  Here's an excerpt:

Jim: So it's a studio album. She's had a lot of hits on the dance charts in the last two years. These have been remixes.

Wally: She has had number one dance chart hits. That's amazing. This is a career that saw her score hits in the 60, the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, the 00s, the 10s and now the 2020s.

Ruth: That is a significant accomplishment. I was shocked when I read "" -- probably should not have been -- to learn that NPR elected to completely ignore THANK YOU. They did not do any reports on Diana Ross or any interviews with her and did not even include her album in their Friday roundtable. That woman is my age. I will not be opening a major festival in England next year. I never had a musical voice as lovely as she does but what I did have is long gone. She has been a pioneer for decades and it is a real slap in the face that they did not take the time to acknowledge her. I believe I am two or three years older than she is.

Elaine: ON that, I would like to point out that Johnny Cash doing his final albums was treated as world news and Diana is now older than Johnny was when he passed away. Is it her race? Is it her gender? Is it both? What reason, exactly, would NPR like to give for disrespecting her?

Isaiah: THANK YOU would be an amazing album for anyone to release -- Brandy, Demi Lovato, you name it.

Cedric: I really agree with that. We listen, Ann and I, to it constantly. Our oldest sings along with some of the songs and our youngest springs up and down trying to dance.

Ann: It is a joyful album.

Betty: You know, I think that might be the best tagline for it, "a joyful album." I really love it. I love all of Diana's work. But I really love this one. It has some of the crisp, tight and clean feel that Ashford & Simpson helped her achieve with THE BOSS. And I was thinking about that and thinking of how the 80s were a dramatic decade -- synths, big shoulder pads, etc. And Diana's albums reflected that decade. And I love them. SWEPT AWAY is an 80s classic. But this album's a bit more relaxed.

Ann: And, like Betty, I loved that drama -- "Mirror, Mirror," "Muscles," "Swept Away," "Eaten Alive," etc. Great songs. But this one was a bit of -- a little more peace, a little more introspection? A little -- well, hope. Hope for the world we're living in. It really did speak to me.

Jess: When I was a kid, I remember Diana Ross performing at the Superbowl half-time show. And we were not a TV family. But we did watch that. And I remember my folks being so excited. They were telling my sister and I and I think we were both like "Huh?" Then it came time for her to perform and we got it because we knew all the songs -- from the radio, from our parents playing the music in the house. 

Ava: What did you think of this album?

Jess: I like it. I like the energy and the attitude.

Ava: I like it too and I want to give Diana huge praise for putting out a real album, for doing so in the pandemic and for not trying the stunt so popular of late where you just do duets. I don't need to hear anybody redo their catalogue but as duets. Not that fond of Frank Sinatra's two albums at the end of his career and if he couldn't really pull it off, who can? But look at Elton John, Reba and all the rest serving up slop.

 I really do love the album and, track for track, it really holds up.  If you're a Diana fan, I think you'll love the album.  It's really something.  

That's her video for "I Still Believe." 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Friday, December 10, 2021.  If there was an assassination attempt on Mustafa al-Kahdimi, who was behind it? US trops are not leaving Iraq and the US continues to persecute Julian Assange.

Starting with a documentary Ruth noted earlier "JFK UNSOLVED: THE REAL CONSPIRACIES ." 

KGO -- ABC 7 in the Bay Area -- produced the documentary with Dan Noyes as the reporter and with  interviews with Josiah Thompson (his most recent book on the assassination of JFK is LAST SECOND IN DALLAS) and Clint Hill (a Secret Service agent from the Eisenhower era to the Ford administration; he was in Dallas the day JFK was shot and is the one who jumped on the trunk after the shooting to shield the injured president and Jaqueline Kennedy).

All these years later and not only do questions remain but documents remain hidden -- documents that should have been released long ago.  Run out the clock and hope that by the time they're finally released it's an attitude of, "Oh, yeah, all those years ago bbrutal things happened.  You know like with Julius Caesar.  That's just how it was back then."  I do hope all the liars are held accountable -- not just the people that carried out the hit but also those who have made careers (and big bucks) out of lying and attacking.  They'll tell any lie at all -- like VARIETY's Owen as Ava and I noted in "Media: The stupid and the liars choose to serve corporations, not people:"


We think it's sad news that Oliver Stone has had to revisit the assassination of JFK.  It's sad but telling -- and most telling on our media.

58 years ago, then-President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  The American people didn't buy the whitewash of The Warren Commission or it's 'expert; staff which included Gerald Ford (later a US president -- an unelected US president) and Arlen Specter (later a US senator).  A lot of people got 'lucky' or paid off because of how they responded to the assassination.  Lie -- like Ford and Specter -- and you or your children have a career -- Dan Rather, Ethan Hawke (are we really going to be the only ones to point out Ethan's connection?), Harry Connick Jr.,  Cokie Roberts . . . 

There were people and outlets who questioned the nonsense in real time -- Jim Garrison, Mark Lane,  and both Mort Sahl and Woody Allen made ridiculing The Warren Commission part of their stand up acts.   But the establishment managed to stifle a robust discussion by (a) ignoring it and (b) ridiculing it when they had to acknowledge it.  And those who stifle a robust discussion get rewarded.  Even by the 'left.'  Last year, RISING elected to invite on plastic surgery freak Gerald Posner.  Gerald dismissed any questions about the assassination in CASE CLOSED.  Since the publication of that book, turns out that Posner isn't just a freak in the mirror, he's a freak on the page.  He plagiarizes non-stop.  He got fired from THE DAILY BEAST for it.  Then, turns out, it was discovered he plagiarized in books and writings prior to joining THE DAILY BEAST.  But RISING thought he was an acceptable guest.  Lies and all, right, doesn't matter a bit.  Doesn't matter to VARIETY's Owen Gleibernman who cited the work of the plagiarist to attack Oliver's new documentary.


We have to wonder -- and we did ask an editor we know at VARIETY -- is that now the standard for the rag?  You refute an argument by citing the work of a plagiarist?  


And let's be clear, Owen refuted nothing.  Owen offered nothing.  He just dismissed and cited Twink-Faced-Frankenstein Gerald and added his own crackpot claims.  Such as?  Life is too damn short so we'll do one and only one:


Speaking of the throat wound, if it was, as the documentary claims, an entrance wound, caused by a bullet coming from the grassy knoll, wouldn’t that bullet have ripped through the side of Kennedy’s neck?


As we asked our friend as VARIETY, "How stupid is this bitch?"


He wrote that.  Owen wrote that garbage.  Took the time to type it up.  If it was a throat wound, it wouldn't have come through the side of the neck.  Has Owen ever taken his candy ass to Dallas?  Has he been to Dealey Plaza?  We asked community members Sabina and Dallas to each go there Saturday and stand in the approximate place where JFK was shot.  


Now, per The National Archives, JFK was shot at three times.  The first shot missed.  Shots two and three struck.  As we already knew before we looked at the photos that Sabina and Dallas sent us, the Grassy Knoll is in front of where shots two and third struck.  Or, if Own prefers, "Front and to the side, front and to the side."  (If you suffered through his piece, you got our joke there.)  The car was not parallel to the Grassy Knoll when shots two and three were fired.  


Maybe it's not just the stupid and the liars.  Maybe in the case of Owen Gleibernman it's possible to be both someone who gets it wrong because their stupid and also because they're a liar.  

They'll tell any lie that they think they can get away with.  

We bring it up because it's over a month now since the alleged assassination attempt on Mustafa al-Kahdimi.  The prime minister of Iraq claims he was targeted.  He claims six of his bodyguards were injured (the Iraqi government has claimed, at different times, four, five and six -- no names have ever been released which is why Iraqis on social media are skeptical about the injuries -- among other things).  Mustafa tried to ride the attempt or 'attempt' to popularity.  He's desperate for a second term but the Iraqi epople don't want him and press-appointed king maker Moqtada al-Sadr isn't cray about him while the one to always watch, Nouri al-Maliki, loathes him.  Nouri knows how to game the system and he's also been meeting with various blocs in his attempt to form the largest bloc and claim the right to name the prime minister designate.  WHile Nouri scrambles, Mustafa eats pastries and licks his fingers.  Fat and happy, right Moqtada?  Caftans can only hide so much.

So the day after the attempt or 'attempt' on his life, Mustafa shows up in public to proclaim he is strong and well and he knows who is behind the attempt (or 'attempt').

It's a month later.

Where are the arrests?

Or the arrest if it was some sort of 'lone gunman' flying the drones.

Where are the arrests?

Seems to me that a real attack, a real attempt to assassinate the prime minister of a country would result in arrests -- especially if they were claiming to know who carried it out.  Seems to me that not making any arrests is saying that anyone can get away with anything which would make Mustafa a huge target.

The government of Iran, in various state publications, is claiming that the US government was behind the attack.  That's something thats existed on Iraqi social media since the day of the attempt (or 'attempt').  That argument goes that the US backed Mustafa (true) and they realize Mustafa will probably be replaced because he's so unpopular so they staged an attack that would draw sympathy for Mustafa and force the country to rally around him.

If that is what happened, the US government is really stupid.  There's been no rallying around Mustafa and only an idiot would have believed that there would be.  He's unpopular.  Not because he has bad breath, because he's done nothing.  He promised he'd come in, hold early elections, and then leave  But the early elections got pushed back.  He's done nothing to address corruption.  

Real assassinations have taken place.  Protesters and journalists have been wounded and killed.  And their killers -- members of the Iraqi government -- walk free.  

Mustafa will give a fiery remark or show up for a photo-op but that's it.

People don't trust him and they don't like him.  

Where are the arrests?  

Again if it was a real attempt on his life, the failure to make any arrests sends a message that attempting to assassinate him is okay and no big deal.

Meanwhile US troops in Iraq aren't going anywhere.  Lolita C. Bandor and Robert Burns (AP) report:

The top U.S. commander for the Middle East said Thursday that the United States will keep the current 2,500 troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future, and he warned that he expects increasing attacks on U.S. and Iraqi personnel by Iranian-backed militias determined to get American forces out.

Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie said in an interview with The Associated Press at the Pentagon that despite the shift by U.S. forces to a non-combat role in Iraq, they will still provide air support and other military aid for Iraq’s fight against the Islamic State.

Noting that Iranian-backed militias want all Western forces out of Iraq, he said an ongoing uptick in violence may continue through December.

Yes, despite headlines, spin and claims, the US military is now Gilbert Grape with Leo braking down the truth, "We're not going anywhere."

AXIOS breaks it down:

What he's saying: Though the U.S. is ending its combat mission in Iraq, they will continue to provide air and other support in the fight against the Islamic State, McKenzie told AP.

They'll provide air and other support?  Yeah, this is the conversation that some members of Congress were having back in 2013 about how it was a lie to say these weren't combat missions.  Regardless, at least 2,500 US troops will remain in Iraq.


During a meeting with commanders of eight Iraqi Resistance groups, Shaykh Akram al-Kaabi said he did not believe the promise of the United States to withdraw from the country by the end of this year, citing statements by American military officials. He called the call for the dissolution of the Popular Mobilization Forces based on the demand of the Arab and Hebrew reactionaries and stated that the Resistance considers its weapons as sacred and will never lay them down.

Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen satellite television channel announced and broadcast a detailed video of a meeting held between the commanders of the Iraqi Islamic Resistance groups operating against the United States and Hujjat al-Islam Akram al-Kaabi, the secretary-general of Iraq’s al-Nujaba Islamic Resistance Movement, including the Ashab al-Kahf [Companions of the Cave], Liwa al-Thayirin [Revolutionaries’ Brigade], Liwa Thar al-Muhandis [Revenge of al-Muhandis Brigade], Liwa al-Qasem [Qasem Brigades], Tashkil al-Warithin [Establishment of the Inheritors], Fasil al-Muqawamah al-Dawliyyah [International Resistance Faction], Rijal Allah [Men of God] and Saraya Thawrah al-Ishrin al-Thaniyah [Second ۱۹۲۰ Revolutionary Brigade].

In this meeting, Hujjat al-Islam al-Kaabi, while listing the examples of assassination, murder, looting, evil and sacrilege in the behaviour of the government of the United States, stated, “Fighting against the United States and its followers in the region and the world is a religious and national obligation, and the Resistance does not retreat or waive this obligation in any way. Today, the arrogant American regime has arrogant and colonial projects not only in Iraq, but everywhere, and seeks to impose its influence on the whole world.”

Some might argue that Joe Biden was painting a target on the bakcs of those who will remain in Iraq.  Others might argue that this is the point, to have an event that sparks more US troops heading into Iraq and an attempt to increase the liklihood of war on Iran.  That would make sense when we think about the background of who Joe's nominated to be the new US ambassador to Iraq -- her background and her public statements.  (She's no fan of Iran, to put it mildly.)\

Would the US government be that sneaky?  Of course they would.  Related, Glenn Greenwald (SUBSTACK) reports the latest on the US government's continued persecution of Julian Assange:

In a London courtroom on Friday morning, Julian Assange suffered a devastating blow to his quest for freedom. A two-judge appellate panel of the United Kingdom's High Court ruled that the U.S.'s request to extradite Assange to the U.S. to stand trial on espionage charges is legally valid.

As a result, that extradition request will now be sent to British Home Secretary Prita Patel, who technically must approve all extradition requests but, given the U.K. Government's long-time subservience to the U.S. security state, is all but certain to rubber-stamp it. Assange's representatives, including his fiancee Stella Morris, have vowed to appeal the ruling, but today's victory for the U.S. means that Assange's freedom, if it ever comes, is further away than ever: not months but years even under the best of circumstances.

In endorsing the U.S. extradition request, the High Court overturned a lower court's ruling from January which had concluded that the conditions of U.S. prison — particularly for those accused of national security crimes — are so harsh and oppressive that there is a high likelihood that Assange would commit suicide. In January's ruling, Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected all of Assange's arguments that the U.S. was seeking to punish him not for crimes but for political offenses. But in rejecting the extradition request, she cited the numerous attestations from Assange's doctors that his physical and mental health had deteriorated greatly after seven years of confinement in the small Ecuadorian Embassy where he had obtained asylum, followed by his indefinite incarceration in the U.K.

In response to that January victory for Assange, the Biden DOJ appealed the ruling and convinced Judge Baraitser to deny Assange bail and ordered him imprisoned pending appeal. The U.S. then offered multiple assurances that Assange would be treated "humanely" in U.S. prison once he was extradited and convicted. They guaranteed that he would not be held in the most repressive "supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado — whose conditions are so repressive that it has been condemned and declared illegal by numerous human rights groups around the world — nor, vowed U.S. prosecutors, would he be subjected to the most extreme regimen of restrictions and isolation called Special Administrative Measures ("SAMs”) unless subsequent behavior by Assange justified it. American prosecutors also agreed that they would consent to any request from Assange that, once convicted, he could serve his prison term in his home country of Australia rather than the U.S. Those guarantees, ruled the High Court this morning, rendered the U.S. extradition request legal under British law.

What makes the High Court's faith in these guarantees from the U.S. Government particularly striking is that it comes less than two months after Yahoo News reported that the CIA and other U.S. security state agencies hate Assange so much that they plotted to kidnap or even assassinate him during the time he had asylum protection from Ecuador. Despite all that, Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde announced today that “the court is satisfied that these assurances” will serve to protect Assange's physical and mental health. 

The following sites updated:

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Moon hut?

Picking up from last time ("That 'hut' on the Moon") here are some videos.

I'm sure it will have an explanation but we're going to have to wait for that.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Tuesday, December 7, 2021.  Oh, JACOBIN.  THat really covers it all.

Garbage.  That's what Julia Rock and David Sirota have written at JACOBINTrina texted me about it yesterday.  I thought she meant to highlight it in the snapshot here and was all for it.  Then I read it and called her and we were both appalled by the article.

It's about inflation.  David and Julia are correct to note that inflation media stories do not note the gross inflation of executives salaries during the pandemic.  They would've been wise to have built an article around that.

In terms of real people?  They write like they know none.  Inflation's just an illusion, they insist, and its the normal reaction people have to increased prices while forgetting that their own wages have increased.  Huh?

Were you stoned?

Did you write garbage like this when you were stoned:

But the bottom 60 percent of earners have more money in their pockets than they did pre-pandemic, even after accounting for inflation, when wage increases and government programs like COVID relief checks and the Child Tax Credit are included. That spending successfully cut poverty nearly in half.

David and Julie, come over here, it's the real world.

I have no idea why it took two people to write such stupdiity.  Maybe you're writing for 'the creative class'?  I have no idea but if you thought that was going to connect with workers, you obviously don't interact with any.  Maybe that's the point?  Maybe JACOBIN fancies itself as a publication for the upscale?

I have no idea.  But you can't count COVID relief checks as increased wages.  The last one was months ago and it was the one Donald Trump pushed through (but Nancy Pelosi wouldn't allow to go out until Joe Biden had been sworn in as president).  Those weren't about increased wages, you idiuots.  Those were about easing suffering and pacifying a confused nation.  We needed a UBI but all we got were crappy stimulus checks.  And, now, thanks to you two, those crappy stimula checks will be portrayed as a 'wage increase.'

I don't get how this article came about.

Is this your effort to try to protect Joe Biden and his big spending bills -- that really don't do anything, by the way?

I'd really like it if we could have honest reporting.  I'd like it if the needs of the people could come ahead of the wants and spin of a political party.  I'm not here to pimp Joe Biden or his policies.  I'm not here to do that for any political party.  I'm not a whore.  I'm reading over David and Julia's piece and my mouth just gapes wide in wonder.

Let's just deal with that nonsense about a wage increase (based on stimulus checks! and a tax credit!).  That's going to lead to so much garbage.  The same sort of garbage we have of "People just don't want to work" and "the government paid them too much and that's why they don't want to work."

No, some people don't want to work because wages are low paying and respect on the job is non-existent.  I'd love, for example, for David and Julia to do a report on how many workers feel they deal with an office bully each day -- usually some middle management jerk.  Bill Clinton gutted the safety net -- and bragged about it.  It was racism and it was stupidity.  And we're never going to rebuild that until we move beyond media lies of lazy people who don't want to work.

Lousy jobs.  That's what you've got.  Lousy jobs where people are treated like dirt and the pandemic showed them that they didn't have to put up with it.  They could live on a smaller budget, some learned.  Others didn't have the choice to 'learn' because they just had to cope.  This especialy includes caregivers -- predominately women, but not just women -- who had to take on additional resposnsibilites due to the pandemic.

Now these aren't 'sexy' storeis for the press and, of course, anytime a story involves women, the US press is even less interested.  

I don't know why JACOBIN can't cover things like that.  I don't know how they see promoting a baseless lie that the discontinued stimulus checks were an increase in wages as being helpful.  

Most people, for example, don't get a raise in 2020 but lose it in 20021 while doing the exact same job.

I was all prepared to quote from the article and to praise it.  The headline alone made it seem important.  But I read it and it's garbage.  David and Julia probably think they made their case very well but they didn't.  They've created a springboard for right-wing talking points which will hurt workers for some time to come.  

And David and Julia need to start interacting with people -- and that's not Emily's constituents at political events.  

We're just doing Zooms now because of the pandemic.  But we had more than enough encounters via that with real people to see what was going to go down in Virginia.  The inflation issue is not minor and it's not something in people's heads.  They see the increases, yes.  They also feel them in their pockets.  Milk has gone up, everything's going up.  If you can't acknowledge that (a) this is happening and that (b) the poor and the working poor are especially hard hit, I don't know why you're writing for a Socialist -- or psuedo Socialist -- publication.  Marx said, "Workers of the world unite!"  JACOBIN appears to be saying, "Workers of the world build us a staging platform and let us know when you're done."  They want a movement but there's clearly a first class in their desired movement and a coach or workers' class for everyone else.  

To call the piece tone deaf is letting it off too easy.  Again, this is a piece that will launch a million and one right-wing talking points.  Many of those talking points?  They'll begin with, "Even Democratic Socialist JACOBIN admits that workers wages have increased . . ."  And these arguments will be used to weasel out of government obligations and to ensure that the US does not provide any other stimulus checks, let alone the needed UBI.

Everyone wants to act puzzled by what has taken place socially.  There's no puzzle to it.  What's going on is a reset and, like previous ones, it's caused by a demographic bulge.  The much maligned millenials are rather earnest, yes.  But that's how it always is.  That's how the younger generation was seen in the sixties, for example.  Societal change, when it comes, usually succeeds because of the young.  They're raised on the belieft of doing the right thing and they haven't yet been worn down to desperate whores who'll say, "Who cares if he raped a woman" or whatever.  They're not going to accept marching orders.  They beilieve in values and equality.  And they still believe the system can work.  They take those beliefs and they go up against the system and we get change.

Demography is one of the least understood aspects of change when it comes to political theory.  But it's one of the most easily predicted.  Time and again, it impacts the market first, this bulge in the population.  And then, as the young people age into adults, it impacts the system itself.

Maybe if people grasped that, they'd spend less time knocking young people and less time offering garbage like David and Julia have?  Instead, they could direct their energy towards what was possible in the brief time before the bulge gets worn down like all the ones that came before?

And maybe they could address that what's actually increased, per labor figures and stastistics, is the amount of work that workers are doing each week.  More work and no real increase in wages.  Seems like that's a story JACOBIN could and should be covering.

I don't dislike David.  I like Emily.  I have been really glad to be able to praise David in the last years.  It's a huge improvement over our past relationship -- e-mails threatening to sue me -- but I'm not going to be silent right now.  This is a very bad article.  I'm sure it was not intended to be.  But it is what it is.  And I'm not going to praise it and I'm certainly not going to be afraid to call it out.  It needs to be called out loudly.  

Let's note this from Hamilton Noah's piece at IN THESE TIMES:

People who view the world through the lens of electoral politics don’t tend to like the phrase Which side are you on?” It is seen as unsophisticated, simplistic — a black-and-white view of a political reality in which compromise is the path to getting anything done. But the phrase has great utility. It acknowledges that there are sides, and that you have to be on one of them. Organized labor is about power. Power concedes nothing without a fight. Compromise is fine, as long as everyone can tell — without looking too hard — which side you are working for. 

A year into full Democratic control of the federal government, and a year out from the likely end of that happy arrangement, is a useful time to consider what the labor movement has gotten out of this ostensibly ideal situation. Have we gotten the PRO Act, the number one thing that labor wants and needs? No. Nor will we, until the filibuster is gone. In fairness, only a minority of Congressional Democrats are holding this legislation back, a result of the fact that the Democratic Party is not one unified thing, but a very loose collection of many disparate things united only by our nation’s poor two-party design. It is fair, however, to look at what the Democrats are doing from the very top — where the agenda is set, and where symbolism matters. 

The reason the PRO Act is so important is that it is not an easy time for unions in America. The law is tilted against them. Major victories are rare. Inspiration is at a premium. Democrats claim to understand this. During the pandemic-wracked year of 2020, there was no more important or inspiring union story than the effort to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. It represented an attempt to crack the most influential and powerful (and anti-union) company in the nation, where the battle to organize workers will have ripple effects on what the future of work looks like across the country in decades to come. Though the union lost that election, the company cheated, and another election will be held. In the fight to unionize Amazon, everyone must be on a side. 

Last week, we learned that former President Barack Obama’s foundation has accepted a $100 million donation from Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. It is a trifling sum for Bezos, who has made more than $100 billion while doing everything possible to ensure that his hundreds of thousands of workers are unable to organize to improve their own lives. The donation was reportedly arranged by Jay Carney, Obama’s former press secretary, who is now Amazon’s spokesman, and who spoke out against the union drive in Alabama. Bezos specifically asked that the donation be earmarked to build a plaza in honor of recently deceased Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. 

John Lewis was a strong and active supporter of unions. Imagine how meaningful it would have been if Barack Obama had publicly supported the Amazon union drive in Alabama. He didn’t, though. But he will have a plaza” paid for by the guy who has become richer than Rockefeller by crushing Amazon workers. I hope that plaza will be spacious enough for John Lewis to roll over in his grave. Thank you for your leadership, Obama. 

That's reality.  It's in short supply at JACOBIN this week.  They're also promoting Liza Featherstone's deeply misguided defense of the 'canon.'  And, Liza, I don't know that I'd called young right-wingers "little s**ts" in the same article where I went on about how the books of Aristotle and Shakespeare must be read.  No, we're not just talking personal taste here (I've never had the Eurocentric devotion to William Shakespeare), we're also talking about the fact that neither wrote boos.  Shakespeare wrote plays, dear, and Aristotle delivered lectures.  It's a quibble but so is dismissing some young people as "sh**ts."    

Iraq?  ISIS is back or 'back.'  I guess it's shocking if you were stupid enough to believe ISIS was ever defeated in Iraq.  It never was and we noted that over and over in the last years.  ISIS lost territory.  BIg deal.  A terrorist organization is suppoed to promote and conduct terror.  It's not supposed to govern.  (Although we could have a lively discussion about governments who terrorize their own citizens -- not to mention the citizens of other countries.)  ISIS losing control of Mosul was not a defeat.  

And ISIS has continued to be active.  As they reach for reasons to argue US troops need to stay in Iraq, the US press is rediscovering ISIS and treating the Basra motorcycle bombing as a major event.  Even quoting from slumlord Moqtada al-Sadr.  Hopefully outgoing President Barhim Saleh is making noises about how this is a threat to Iraq's society.  Really?  I think corruption is a bigger threat and I think there are about six other factors that are more threatening.

In fact, ISIS benefits from these factors.  But Saleh won't address that right now.  Though it was only weeks ago that he was making similar statements.  

Let's wind down with this announcement by Iraq War veteran Patrick Murphy:




If you are in the Washington, DC area this Wednesday evening, I hope you'll consider joining me at the largest pre-Army/Navy Game event on Capitol Hill. Together with Senator Patty Murray, Congressmen Tim Ryan, Jimmy Panetta, Mike Thompson, and many more veteran leaders in Washington, we will be celebrating our work to support and elect veterans and military family members of integrity to Congress.

The Army/Navy Game is about more than just football. It's about coming together to recognize that, even though we come from different places, and even though we wear different uniforms or perform different tasks in service, we have all sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The Army/Navy Game is a reminder that we serve something larger than ourselves.
At Taking the Hill, we believe Congress should be made up of people who believe in serving something larger than themselves, too. That's why we fight so hard for our veteran candidates and members of Congress.
If you're around on Wednesday evening, we'd love to have you. RSVP for your ticket by clicking here. Even if you can't make it, we'd love to have your support with a contribution today.
Thank you for supporting those who serve our country. See you soon.
Beat Navy,
Hon. Patrick J. Murphy
32nd Under Secretary of the Army
Former Congressman (PA-01)

The following sites updated:

Monday, December 06, 2021

That 'hut' on the Moon

I have no idea what the 'hut' some are seeing on the Moon is but let's note the story because it is science.  NY POST notes:


A Chinese lunar rover has been sent on a mission to investigate a mysterious cube-shaped object spotted on the dark side of the moon.

The strange white object appears oddly geometric against the stark black horizon in images and prompted scientists from China’s Change 4 mission to send its Yutu 2 rover on a 2-3 month journey to check out, according to Our Space.

China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) describes the object as a “mysterious hut.”

The organization also joked that the object could be a home built by aliens following a crash landing in the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin where the rover has been navigating since January 2019.

There appears to be a small “baby” impact crater right beside the object.


 GIZMODO notes of Yutu 2 rover:

Mission controllers commanded the six-wheeled vehicle to scan the surrounding skyline when “an obtrusive cube on the northern skyline attracted their attention,” as Our Space writes (as translated by Google). “Was it a home built by aliens after a crash landing? Or is it the pioneer spacecraft of predecessors to explore the Moon?,” the post continues. 

They’re probably joking—or at least, I hope they’re joking—but Andrew Jones, a correspondent with SpaceNews who covers China’s space program, offered a more restrained take, tweeting that “it’s not an obelisk or aliens, but certainly something to check out,” adding that large boulders “are sometimes excavated by impacts.”

So we'll find out shortly what it is.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Monday, December 6, 2021.  The western press ignored Sulaymaniyah and that says a great deal about the western press.

Sulaymaniyah?  It's a city in Iraq.  In 1968, the University of Sulaymaniyah was established and it's the largest.  It has many satellites but its main campus is the largest college in the Kurdistan Region.  The second largest museum in Iraq is in Sulaymaniyah (the Baghdad's Iraq Museum is the largest museume in the country). The city has produced poets, linguists, historians, novelists, a prime minister (Ahmad Mukhtar Baban who was prime minister of Iraq in 1958) and a president of Iraq (Jalal Talabani). 

By Iraqi standards, Sulaymaniyah is a very young city. It was founded in 1784 by Ibrahim Pasha Baban, a Kurdish prince to be the capital of his principality. Since then it has been Iraqi Kurdistan’s cultural capital and home to philosophers, poets and writers. Its importance is not limited to Iraq, but for the whole of the Kurdistan region, which also encompasses parts of Turkey, Syria and Iran.

Slemani, as it is also known, attracted many Sorani-speaking Kurdish linguists and writers, and here Sorani literature was developed. These writers and poets are today revered with statues and busts in many parks and squares around the city.
The local population are known for being more open-minded and tolerant than in the rest of Kurdistan, and this is something I could perceive in the few days I spent in the area. Something that surprised me in Kurdistan, especially in Slemani, is that women seem to be more independent. In the Arab world women tend to seem quieter, overshadowed by their male relatives when in public, and never start a conversation with a stranger. Here,  for the first time ever, I had local females starting a conversation with me on the street and in restaurants.
The city is described on the Lonely Planet guide as a “cosmopolitan gem” and “a place to be discovered”. It is quite nice, I totally agree, but to me those words are an overstatement. From a visitor’s perspective, while it still has many places of interest,  I found the city short of landmarks. The heart of the city is the old town, which despite the name, looks rather modern and it is deliciously chaotic as any medina in Morocco, for inistance. The old town is dominated by a large open bazaar, which occupies several blocks. It is a market place selling mainly food, vegetables and clothes, and is buzzing from early morning to late afternoon. Right in the middle of all this is the Grand Mosque, which is open for visitors. In the area I found many small family run restaurants serving simple, tasty and inexpensive food.

Western press, meet Sulaymaniyah.  

An introduction appears necessary since they so often ignore the area.  Inclduing right now.  It was bad enough yesterday when the western press ignored a variety of actions taking place in the region ("Western press ignores protests, actions and murder i Sulaymaniyah").  But it's now Monday and they appear determined to pretend there's still no news value to what's taking place in Sulaymaniyah.

For example, the protests that started yesterday.  

The students continue their protests demanding the return of their financial allocations in #Iraq

Those protests are being ignored -- again -- by the western press.  

The protests continue this morning.  And so does violence against the protesters.  AL AHMAD TV reports today:

In The Video.. Student demonstrators were run over in Sulaymaniyah. #Iraq

What else is getting ignored in that area?   A24 reported Sunday:

To mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the Civil Development Organization in Sulaymaniyah launched an event to raise awareness on violence against women. The event featured women dummies lined up in the garden, who represented victims of violence. Visitors can hear their sorrowful stories through microphones attached to those dummies. According to the latest statistics, the number of victims of violence has surged despite deterrent laws. In the last 8 months, 10 women lost their lives in an honor killing.

Why was The #MeToo movement necessary in the US?  Because women's rights are given lip service from time to time but not truly honored or recognized.  And that is reflected in what US news outlets choose to cover when they cover foreign countries.  Certainly, THE NEW YORK TIMES' go-go boys in the Green Zone, while getting really close with Iraqi women (prostitutes) elected to ignore the women of Iraq in print.  To read those early year reports is to think that Iraq had no women in the whole country.  THanks for all your 'ehlp John F. Burns and Dexy.  Will you ever attone for what you did?  Your wrok really does qualify as a journalistic crime.  

And those crimes continue to this day.  The pattern set by the 'golden boys' continues.  So when Iraqi women fight for their rights, the western press looks the other way.  Over and over.  It's really past time that women with spaces -- coumnists like you, Michelle Goldberg -- started using your space to point out how your own outlets disappear women from the coverage.


Women in Southern Kurdistan are subjected to domestic violence. They are subjected to physical, psychological, verbal, and economic violence by their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons. Many women set themselves on fire to get rid of violence. Neşmik Resul, a psychologist working at a hospital in Sulaymaniyah spoke to our agency about what causes women to set themselves on fire.

Emphasizing that the rate of women, who set themselves on fire, shows the rate of violence against women, Neşmik Resul said, “Before, we worked on survivors, women, men, and children, of self-immolation. 30% of women living in Sulaymaniyah have set themselves on fire. Some of them died before being taken to hospital. We don’t know exactly how many women and young people have set themselves on fire until now but their number is more than we know.”

Stating that the ages of women, who set themselves on fire, are between 14-35, Neşmil Resul said, “Domestic violence and economic problems are the main reason for women to set themselves on fire. Female survivors have received psychological support at the hospital now. They tell us, ‘If there was another choice, we wouldn’t have set us on fire.’ Women set themselves on fire because they think they don’t have another choice.”

“Female survivors are subjected to more violence”

Mentioning that women are afraid of telling violence against them, Neşmil Resul said, “Women don’t report violence faced by them because they are afraid. Female survivors are subjected to more violence by their husbands. Women have no right to make their decision.

“I am ready to provide psychological support to women”

“The survivors need psychological support and I am ready to provide psychological support to them,” Neşmin Resul told us.

These are stories that mater and they are stories that the few western outlets that bother to cover Iraq now manage to regularly miss.  

They certainly missed a death in the region yesterday.  Khanzad Organization notes:

With great sadness and sorrow, (Captain / Muhammad Latif), the officer at Directorate of Combating Violence against Women and the Family, was martyred last night while performing his official duties in the city of Sulaymaniyah. *

*We, as the Khanzad Cultural and Social Organization, extend our condolences to the family of the martyr and his colleagues, hoping that similar incidents will not occur while facing the files of violence anymore.

The participation of Khanzad Cultural and Social Organization in announcing the statement of civil society organizations regarding the martyrdom of "Captain / Muhammad Latif", an officer in the Directorate of Combating Violence against Women and the Family in Sulaymaniyah,*

* and the injury of 3 other officers of the Directorate while carrying out their official duties. Civil society organizations submitted a memorandum of support to the Directorate of Combating Violence,

A police officer was killed by an armed suspect while responding to a domestic violence call late Saturday in Sulaimani according to officials. Several others were injured.

A person who was subject to a complaint clashed with police units from Sulaimani’s Directorate of Combatting Violence Against Women who were in the process of arresting him, the directorate’s media head Jamal Rasul told Rudaw following the accident.

Police officer Mohammed Latif was killed and three others were injured, he added. The alleged suspect also set the police car on fire, Rasul noted.

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